Paulina Neuding on Stockholm riots

Paulina Neuding is a bright young Swedish writer. Here is an excellent article by Paulina in the the Weekly Standard about the recent riots in Stockholm.

“In the American blogosphere the idea has spread that the Swedish riots are related to Islam. This is not the case (although Sweden has known Islamist violence in the past, for instance the terrorist bombing in Stockholm in 2010). Muslim leaders in the affected areas have denounced the violence and urged calm. The man who was shot in Husby was Portuguese. And the angry young rioters have not appealed to Islam or otherwise indicated that their violence is religiously motivated. Instead, they cite police brutality and social injustice to justify their actions.

This last explanation has been uncritically accepted by the Swedish left, which reacts the same way as the American or French left when confronted with urban riots: The violence is condemned, but described as a legitimate expression of frustration over inequality and a lack of public investment. Sometimes it is even romanticized: “A riot is the language of the unheard,” wrote Sweden’s largest newspaper, the Social Democratic Aftonbladet, quoting Martin Luther King Jr. just weeks before he was killed—as if rioting in the midst of the Swedish welfare state of 2013 were comparable to the struggles of African-American descendants of slaves and heirs of segregation during the 1960s.

From an American perspective, the Swedish riots hold at least two lessons. First, they illustrate the weakness of the left’s go-to explanation for mob violence​—​that it is a function of inequality and poverty. Sweden, after all, is an exemplary country in terms of both social equality and treatment of minorities. But not even in Sweden, apparently, is taxpayers’ generosity sufficient to maintain law and order, according to this standard interpretation.

Second, the riots are a reminder of the left’s inexhaustible egalitarian ambitions. Not even in a welfare state like Sweden is the left willing to abandon the idea that the solution to violence and destruction lies in ever more social programs and more radical redistribution of wealth. There is always a new, absolutely necessary social reform waiting around the corner.”

Read the whole thing.